Australian Coroner Says Stop Sleeping With Your Babysandymaple
Co-sleeping with an older child is one thing. But sharing a bed with an infant who can’t wiggle out from under dad’s arm or pull herself free of bedsheets and pillows is quite another. And according to South Australian coroner Mark Johns, parents who do it are risking their children’s lives.
After investigating the deaths of five babies who died while sleeping alongside and adult, Johns says the practice of co-sleeping with infants needs to stop.
The message to be drawn from these five tragic deaths is that the risk of sudden, unexplained death in infancy is greatly increased where a child sleeps in the same bed with one or more parents or other adults, whether the mechanism of death is asphyxia due to overlaying, bedding or otherwise.
But, as Australian forensic pathologist Roger Byard points out, parents sharing a bed with their infants is nothing new. In other cultures, they’ve always done it that way and some of them, Japan for example, boast some of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. So, what gives?
Byard believes it has to do with bedding and the parents themselves. In Western culture, our bed linens are softer and our beds piled high with pillows and downy comforters. And we ourselves are bigger and, according to Byrd, often affected by alcohol and drugs. “Certain infants taken into the parental bed will not survive the night,” he says.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics both advise against allowing infants to sleep in adult beds. But with no hard data to back up claims that co-sleeping is dangerous, many parents continue to do it. What about you? Do you co-sleep with your infant?
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